yes, I do think they're very old and rooted mostly in pre-scriptual, oral culture I didn't mean just that, I meant that almost anything we're capable off we only know through aping and copying others. the most fundamental things like learning to speak, which in turn teaches you to think in abstract ways. yes, we do have a biological cognitive basis for thinking, influenced by evolution, hardly changed in the last few thousands of years: our brain. but it has been shown that language structures our way of thinking significantly. so, in a way, the people teaching us concepts (words and their abstract ideas) and talking (language and semantics) also teach us how to think. this is imho one of the things that make us most human. chimpanzees do not need to learn how to use certain tools. apparently, those connections are to some degree hard wired. so a chimpanzee can very easily make use of tools without knowing what a tool is, or without ever having anyone seen a tool before. humans do not have this hard wired connection at all. in fact when we are born we cannot walk and we cannot talk in any meaningful way. we're helpless, useless, and though we have a nicely developed brain it doesn't do jack ****- a human might by coincidence discover an object as a useful tool, but that happens exceptionally rarely. so all we do, in the end, is we copy the way our parents (and other humans) communicate, we copy the way our parents move, and so on. in the end this is very similiar to the scientific method which we developed (not coincidentally) to be similiar to some of the most fundamental features of humandom: observation (empiricism, accumulating data) and recreation (experiment, falsification, etc.). many cognitive scientists now argue that Play also played an essential role in our cognitive development. and play, too, is a form of mimesis and somewhat of an experiment, really: let's pretend I am the Cop and you're the Robber, and then see what happens is similiar to the idea of: let's pretend its -150 degrees celsius and look at the behavior of different Helium derivates.